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Influence Peddler: Giselle Soto, the Eyebrow Artist Behind a Viral Meme

In just a few years, Soto has garnered a celebrity clientele and opened her own Los Angeles salon — all thanks to a meme.

Anastasia Soare built her billion-dollar empire grooming the eyebrows of Los Angeles’ elite. At 23, Giselle Soto is on her way to building a buzzy client list of her own, many of whom know about her because of a viral meme.

In 2016, a meme featuring meticulously groomed eyebrows went viral among social media’s beauty communities. “Jesus did her brows…I’m shook,” it read, along with a picture of Soto’s work. The meme is a few years old — practically three lifetimes in Internet years — but it continues to bring business to Soto, who has since opened her own salon.

Influence Peddler: Giselle Soto, Viral Eyebrow Artist
A screen of a viral meme featuring Giselle Soto’s work. @ActuallyGina / Twitter

“I don’t know what it is about this picture, but it always goes viral,” Soto said. “This meme has done amazing things for me. I have a student who flew in from Africa to take a private training with me.” The student, she added, found her through the meme.

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Soto, who hails from Oxnard, Calif., began doing brows a few years ago after undergoing a traumatizing threading experience — “I was completely butchered,” she said. A self-proclaimed perfectionist, she began tweezing her own brows, along with those of her high school friends and family members. She enrolled in her local beauty school in Ventura County and started her own Instagram page. Through the platform, she met a popular brow artist, who had half a million followers at the time. The brow artist reached out to Soto the day she graduated beauty school, Soto said, and hired her to work in her salon. About 10 months later, Soto was fired.

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Influence Peddler: Giselle Soto, Viral Eyebrow Artist
Giselle Soto’s Los Angeles salon, which opened in December 2017. @jenjphoto

“Fortunately, she fired me out of nowhere,” said Soto, recounting the incident. “That forced me to go out on my own. In two days, I turned my home into a brow studio and that’s where I was working. I shifted all my clientele there. I was there for about a year and a month and now I have my own location on Melrose [Avenue]. Been there ever since.”

Soto went on to build a celebrity client list that includes Normani Kordei, Michelle Williams, Ming Lee Simmons and Nazanin Mandi. She also groomed the brows of Beyoncé’s backup dancers before the singer’s historic Coachella performance last year. Soto’s Instagram page, @gisellesotobrows, now has 49,000 followers.

On average, Soto sees 10 clients a day — she has, though, taken up to 16 clients in a single day — and has one employee, whom she hand-picked and personally trained. She brow shapes using wax and tweezers and recently started offering microblading, a form of semi-permanent tattooing. She charges $80 for a first-time visit, $65 for repeat customers and $850 for microblading session.

“Overall, I believe consistency is key and my cleanliness,” she said. “I’m very good at making the brows symmetrical. I know brows are not gonna be twins all the time, but my goal is to always get them to be as close as possible. People love that. People love my personality and how detailed I am. I never rush any client. Perfection cannot be rushed.”

A common eyebrow mistake she notices is “overdoing it with the makeup” — one of the reasons she is now working on her own product line.

“I’m not a big fan of the pomades and the super highlight and the shimmer underneath,” she said. “I try to keep it very simple, very classy. Based off of videos I’ve seen on Instagram, I see some people hold up the brow hair with a mascara wand and then trim. Me, I like to brush the hair very lightly to where it natural lays and snip the ends of the hair. That avoids over trimming, which can make the brows appear thinner.”

She is working on developing a brow powder, but is taking her time developing the formula and doesn’t see it coming out anytime soon.

I’ve had a couple of meetings to start the product line, but I don’t think it’s something that’s gonna come out as soon as possible,” she said. “It’s gonna be a process.”

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